by Playthell Benjamin
As has been pointed out repeatedly by sports commentators analyzing yesterday’s Super Bowl game: Russell Wilson is the only quarterback with his stats to play in that game and not be named “Most Valuable Player.” This is not mere speculation; these guys are pros who do this for a living and they are armed with a veritable mountain of statistics to support their claim. Wilson passed for over 206 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and no sacks! Hence I could not agree with them more. They are spot on.
Beyond the hard statistics there are the intangibles such as his irrepressible optimism, brilliant decision making, mistake free play, maintaining his cool under pressure and the ability to inspire and rally his troops. In terms of what is required in a winning quarterback, this kid has the right stuff…Russell Wilson is the real deal. I would love to hear what the panel that selected the MVP used as their criteria. Some people feel their decision was driven by racial resentments, and I must confess that the thought also crossed my mind.
“Don’t you EVER Talk about…” Russell Wilson! Run or Pass… Russell-Wilson. He does it all!
However after listening to Stephen A. on ESPN’s First Take this morning I am uncertain as to how much racism had to do with it. Although it need not be either or…it could be a bit of both. While Skip Bayless, a white sports reporter who partners with Stephen, A said he would have voted for Russ, Stephen A. thought the Seattle victory was totally the result of how the defense played. This only confirms my long held opinion that he should stick to commenting on basketball…which is his true area of expertise. Russell Wilson is the engine that fires the Seahawk wreaking machine.
With the Super Bowl victory Russell Wilson has won more games than any quarterback in the history of the National Football League over their first two years, yet our famous sports pundit Stephen A says he is “not a game changer.” However Eric Davis, a former All-Pro cornerback looks at Wilson’s performance, pointing out the many third down conversions that resulted from great play by this quarter, by passing or running the ball, and scratches his head in puzzlement because several quarterbacks have won the MVP award with less impressive performances. And he offers an explanation “I guess people just don’t see him as “that guy who can step in and save a game…but he does it all the time!”
The person who appears to be the least concerned with this question is Russell Wilson. When asked about it he just laughs and with his customary grace and says it doesn’t matter, that he is happy for his team mate, Malcolm Smith, who plays on the defensive side of the ball, and talked about how great the defense played. And then he says that he knows what his talents are, and he is quite satisfied with that. He says that he views his role as a facilitator who distributes the ball to others to make plays. With characteristic calm, Russell says he got what he really wanted: A Super Bowl Championship.
Of course, that’s the object of the game, and it is of greater value to a quarterback than any individual accolade. The gracious way he handled this historic victory, the magnitude of which was unimaginable to knowledgeable football fans, was the essence of the sporting ideal. He is unflappable, a trait which is most obvious when he is questioned as to whether he was nervous before the game due to the pressure. Russell flashed his boyish smile and said “I was never nervous and I didn’t feel any pressure.”
Russ Constantly Pays Homage to Dad. Russell and Dad Harrison Benjamin Wilson III Whose Wisdom shaped his Self-Concept
He went on to say that pressure was when his father was in lying a coma in the hospital dying and his mother was futilely trying to revive him. “That was pressure, football is fun. It’s what I love to do.” There is a simple honesty about this kid that leaves no doubt in my mind that he is telling the truth.
I kept thinking that whatever those who chose the Most Valuable Player were using as a measuring stick they got it wrong. The Seahawks could easily have won this game without Malcolm Smith’s contribution, as exciting as it was, but they could not have won without Russell Wilson…which in my estimation makes him the Most Valuable Player.
His coach says that the things people look at who evaluate his quarterback are irrelevant, because he feels that Russell is at the center of all that they do. “Russell never turned the ball over once in the playoffs…that’s big time football” So in choosing the Most Valuable Player I ask the same question Wilson’s beloved father, who taught him the game: Why not Russ?
Queen Beyonce nestled between two Kings-cs
Benjamin is a veteran political journalist out of Harlem NY. His essays can be read on his blog site Commentaries on the Times.